Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.
This week brought another edition of The Digest, our monthly chat ‘n’ chew review show. Drew Toal stopped by to discuss the newest and shiniest game in the Grand Theft Auto series. Before they got to talking, they sampled one of Park Slope’s finest hippie-dippie treats, kale chips imbued with vegan cheese. John hated it, but Girard made the case for some “tasty” vegan cheeses:
I think “vegan cheese” is too wide a category to completely disavow. There are brands of melty cheese-ish stuff that are better than others. Vegan Gourmet is all right, and I’m fine with Daiya, but it has a strong nutty flavor that I imagine could turn folks off. There are also substitutions you can make in recipes to give them a cheesy flavor. Nutritional yeast is pretty bomb in this respect, and you can make a great mac and cheese powder using it, walnuts, and some garlic salt. And there are substitutes for fringe cheeses—cream cheese, sprinkle cheese, etc.—that tend to be more successful than ersatz ‘real’ cheeses. I’d never eat a straight-up brick of any of that stuff, but I wouldn’t do that with traditional cheese either. I’ve cooked dishes with vegan cheese that went over perfectly well with omnivores.
Sorry Girard, I still think vegan cheese is yucky. Crab Naga steered the discussion away from impostor cheeses and back to the game at hand. Our crustacean friend found the police presence in the game to be unfortunately inconsistent:
I’ve never found the cops to be that troublesome. Sometimes you’ll get a cop with nitro or something in his car who is able to ram you while you’re speeding along in an Infernus. Sometimes you’ll get the X-ray vision cop, who can see you through a building (although I’ve only had that happen once or twice). Sometimes you’ll get the psychic cops, who will know exactly where to get out of their car and look for you, even if you’re a mile away from the last place anyone saw you. Sometimes you’ll get the teleporter cop, who appears directly in front of you as you’re rounding a corner.
However, there are all kinds of tricks you can pull that make getting away from the cops easier (and the game doesn’t tell you explicitly, which I like). First, if you switch cars, cops won’t notice you in them unless you drive right past them. Second, you can go hide in a bush and unless one of them bumps right into you, they’ll never find you. I’m not sure if it helps, but I also like turning off my headlights when I park my car down some alleyway.
Shock To The System
Matt Gerardi brought word of a new development from Nintendo’s nightmare factory: a Pikachu with motion-captured facial animation from the deepest pits of Hell. This foray into Pikachu weirdness isn’t Nintendo’s first, as Matt mentioned. He linked to a totally radical ad for the old Nintendo 64 game Hey You, Pikachu!. The ad is deeply depressing, as Charlotte Grote aptly pointed out:
It’s a sad look into the life of a boy who, rejected and ignored by his family, retreats into the world of video games, eventually declaring a fictional electric mouse his best friend. Weep for this child, friends. Weep.
Code To Joy
Anthony John Agnello swooped in for the second episode of The Digest to talk up The Wonderful 101. Both Anthony and John were underwhelmed by the finished product but charmed by the concept. The hard-to-grasp controls played a part in forming that opinion, and Fluka waxed about the cold, heartless computer programs that allow controls to come to life:
I feel like the problems with motion control are a rather stark reminder that video games are at their heart big collections of computer code. My everyday job relies on writing code to tell big sets of numbers precisely how to behave. The computer doesn’t care what you meant. It’ll only do precisely what you told it to do. So even though motion controls are designed to read a much more “intuitive” set of human gestures, which if another human looked at they would understand, the Wii and Kinect are still just designed to imitate that kind of subjective, “I meant to do this” input. Beneath that mask of accessibility, there’s still a cold computer waiting for a precise set of input parameters. Well, at least until we develop true AI and enslave it inside our gaming machines!
If I manage to live long enough to enslave a real artificial intelligence in my laptop, I’ll make them reenact Reboot until the end of days. And that’s a Matt Kodner Guarantee™!
As a lot of you know, this week’s is the last Digest to be filmed Brooklyn. Next week, John is riding off into the sunset—by which I mean going to Chicago—so he closed out the Digest the way it began. Kotaku’s Evan Narcisse joined John to discuss Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons. The game has a strange interface that has you controlling two characters at once, and Destroy Him My Robots fondly remembered another game with a similar scheme:
The Adventures Of Cookie & Cream does the controlling two characters at once with the left stick/right stick thing as well and it’s excellent. It’s been one of my go-to multiplayer games for when people who aren’t used to the controllers of console games are around and has saved quite a few from having a terribly boring evening watching others play Pro Evolution Soccer and Tekken. And yeah, it explicitly features a 2 player mode that works by sharing one controller (and even a special 4-player mode for two controllers). In that game, however, the player characters are neatly separated, spatially, so you don’t get the “right hand controls the thing on the left” confusion Teti mentions here.
Also of note was the game’s title. Evan joked about interpreting Brothers a little differently. Kyle O’Reilly agreed, and asked for a Blaxploitation-themed game:
To Evan’s point about the (vaguely) misleading title of Brothers, where in the hell is our Blaxploitation third-person shooter, video game industry? You make a bazillion generic military shooters a year and you can’t just re-skin one to match Black Dynamite?
Watch this trailer and tell me it wouldn’t be a perfect video game! C’mon!
That does it for this week. Thanks for reading and commenting. We’ll see you next week!